No. 1 Cal Goes For NCAA Women's Rowing Title

May 24, 2004

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This Week: This week, the undefeated and No.1 ranked Golden Bears, fresh off their victory at the Pac-10 Championships, head back to Lake Natoma to compete in the NCAA Women's Rowing National Championships. Racing is scheduled to begin Friday at 8 a.m. with Division I varsity eight heats. Saturday's racing begins at 9 a.m., and will feature the semifinals and repechage for all divisions. The finals will begin Sunday, at 9:45, with the division II varsity four petite final. The division I varsity eight grand final is scheduled to begin at noon. Cal's varsity eight and second varsity eight (JV) are undefeated heading into the NCAAs, and both are in prime position to capture national titles, and help Cal win it's first team title since 1980, when the Bears won the AIAW championship.Last year, Cal's varsity eight placed 10th overall. The second varsity eight boat captured the bronze medal, finishing behind Brown and Washington. The varsity four was one step ahead of the JV boat, placing second behind Eastern powerhouse Brown. With all three boats scoring, the Bears placed fifth overall in the team competition.

Dave O'Neill Named Regional Coach of the Year: on Friday, May 21, the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association named Cal women's head coach Dave O'Neill Regional Coach of the Year for the West region. The CRCA also awarded Co-captains Remy Hitomi and Martha Helgeland, as well as fellow varsity eight rowers Laura Terheyden and Kaylan Vander Schilden, first team All-Region honors. Senior Jessica Patak received second team All-region honors.

Bears at the NCAAs: Since the arrival of head coach Dave O'Neill in 1999, Cal has received a team invitation to the NCAA Rowing Championships each year. In his first season, the varsity eight won the bronze medal - the varsity eight's third place finish was Cal's best finish since the Bears won the AIAW National title in 1980.In 2000 the Bears placed just out of medal contention, finishing fourth in both the varsity eight and team competitions behind Brown, Washington and Virginia.In 2001, Cal placed eighth in the varsity eight, and sixth overall in team points.The Bears bounced back in 2002, finishing third in the varsity eight and third in the team competition. The third place team finish was Cal's best overall team finish at the National Championships since 1980 when they won the national title.Before O'Neill, the Bears had not won a medal at the national championships since the novice eight boat took home the bronze medal in 1989 under novice coach Jenny Hale. The varsity had not medaled at the national level since the varsity four boat won the gold, and second varsity eight captured the bronze, in 1981 under head coach Pat Sweeney.

The Competition: Besides Cal, this year's NCAA regatta features 16 of the top crews in the country. Defending champion Harvard brings back four members of its 2003 national champion varsity eight, while Brown, Michigan and Washington figure to be contenders, as well, in both the varsity eight and team competition.Last year, Harvard won both the varsity eight and team title. It was the first time in six years that either Brown or Washington had not won the title. The Bears finished fifth in the team competition behind Harvard, Brown, Washington and Michigan.

Pac-10 Championships Recap: The top-seeded Bears captured their first-ever conference team title at this year's Pac-10 championships held on May 16 at Lake Natoma. Cal was victorious in three out of the four races, winning the varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight races. The varsity four finished second to Washington.The varsity eight placed four seconds ahead of Washington to win its first Pac-10 title since 1979. The Bears jumped out to an early two-second lead over the Huskies in the first 500 meters. For the next 1500 meters, Washington tried to pull even with Cal, but was never able to overcome the early deficit. The Huskies ended up finishing a boat length behind the Bears.The second varsity eight took a similar approach to its race, building a two-second lead over the field in the first 500 meters. But from there the race got tight. Washington State put the pressure on the Bears over the last 1000 meters, stroking to the fastest split of the field with 500 meters to go. The Bears were able to hold off the powerful surge by the Cougars, finishing just two tenths of a second ahead of Washington State.

Did You Know: Only two times in California school history has a women's team won a national title. The first team to do so was the 1980 women's crew, while in 2002 the softball team captured the NCAA title.Just six years after women's crew was added as an intercollegiate sport at Cal, the women's crew dominated the competition at the AIAW national championships, the precursor to the NCAAs, winning both the varsity eight and second varsity eight titles, and placed second in the varsity four race. The points garnered from those races gave the Bears the overall title, and Cal's first-ever varsity national championship in any women's sport.

Racing Schedule (Friday)

Varsity EightHeat 1 (8:00 a.m.): Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, Washington, Tennessee, Michigan StateHeat 2 (8:15 a.m.): Texas, Michigan, Cal, Virginia, WisconsinHeat 3 (8:30 a.m.): Brown, Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Washington State

Varsity Eight Lineup: Cox: Remy Hitomi, Stroke: Shauna Walchenbach, Martha Helgeland, Laura Terheyden, Kaylan Vander Schilden, Kelly Tilmanis, Jessica Patak, Jelena Djukic, Bow: Erin Reinhardt

Second Varsity EightHeat 1 (10:00 a.m.): Ohio State, Michigan State, Brown, Virginia, Wisconsin, MichiganHeat 2 (10:15 a.m.): Princeton, Washington, Washington State, Cal, Harvard, Yale

JV Eight Lineup: Cox: Shaina Kennedy, Stroke: Jane Griffith, Ashley Peterson, Kim Atkinson, Ashley Smith, Sabine Zimmermann, Karin Clifton, Hilary Meu, Bow: Gina Antonini

Varsity FourHeat 1 (11:00 a.m.): Princeton, Washington State, Virginia, Cal, Yale, Michigan StateHeat 2 (11:15 a.m.): Harvard, Ohio State, Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, Brown

Varsity Four Lineup: Cox: Sara Tran, Stroke: Emily Burkett, Teresa Oja, Megan Reitz, Bow: Katie Swanson

Tickets For NCAA Championships: Tickets for the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships can be purchased through the Sacramento State Ticketing Office (916)278-2222 and at the CSUS Aquatic Center throughout the competition.

Three Day Package: General admission: $20                     Sac State Students/Seniors(60 and over)/Youth (2-13) $10Friday: General Admission: $5          Sac State Students/Seniors (60 and over)/Youth (2-13) $3Saturday: General Admission: $10            Sac State Students/Seniors (60 and over)/Youth $5Sunday: General Admission: $10          Sac State Students/Seniors (60 and over)/Youth $5
Directions To CSUS Aquatics CenterFrom Bay Area:Take Interstate 80 EastMerge onto Highway 50 East (Just before Sacramento)Take Hazel Avenue Exit (about 21 miles after merging onto Hwy 50)Make a left on HazelTake first right into Lake Natoma Park Site
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